FEEDING ON THE VERY EVILS WE CLAIM TO HATE IS LIKE TRYING TO CURE A CANCER WHILST WE GO ON SMOKING – Part 2

PART 2

Just as I am finding it extremely hard to make any sense out of what I am about to share here, I am also struggling to put it into words, to get my thoughts together so that I can put my points across in the fairest, most respectful and sensitive manner. It is a real challenge though to pass on information to someone else when one’s head cannot get around the inherent contradiction, the bi-polarity, the paradox and even the impossibility of the truths contained in that information, so please bear with me.

As I wrote to Richard on a recent tweet (though I think it is safe to say that with 106K+ followers, he probably receives an average of say, 1K messages on his inbox per day and that’s just from Twitter, so the chances of him ever reading my ramblings are pretty much non-existent. Having said that though, if I want to say something which I deeply care about to a person I also deeply care about, I like to say it to the person and not to someone else about that person. So with that in mind, I recently told Richard on a tweet that I admire and respect him hugely and that my rants do not seek confrontation or antagonism for the sake of it, but simply reflection In an ideal world, it would be wonderful to have the chance to hear his feedback, not personally to me but to those fans and supporters out there who may be as puzzled and wondering the same things as I am right now.

Here it goes. Picture this: the same super talented actor who gave us a heart-wrenching, soul-searching, spell-binding rendition of John Proctor in The Crucible; the same inspiring, purposeful and inspired human being who being interviewed about what he hoped people would take away with them on having seen his performance and the play, said: “I hope our audience leave with a sense of purpose, duty and responsibility”, and who in answer to “What is the most important thing that playing Proctor has taught you?”, said “That truth may be hidden, buried, warped and discarded, but man becomes closer to “His God” when he fights for that truth, even at the cost of his own life. The courage to die for the truth”; the same man who in answer to “What aspects of society/culture do you think The Crucible best speaks to today?” said: “It speaks of prejudice and persecution and any society which has permitted its government to legislate in favour of such denial of human rights, be it race, gender, religion, sexual preference and political orientation”, and still the same man who when asked “What do you hope the audience will be left contemplating after the performance?” answered with these wonderfully inspiring words: “I hope our audience leave with a sense of purpose, duty and responsibility… That they are at one with their mortality and that they believe in love.” Wow, I have goose-bumps all over even now. To hear an individual of his current popularity with the platform and the following he enjoys, speak in those terms, with such clarity, courage and determination, is for me almost as powerful and ground-breaking as watching Martin Luther King deliver his “I have a dream..” speech. It’s a breath of much needed fresh air in a world ruled by Mammon, greed, the obsession and glorification of evil, violence and a sense of entitlement to immediate gratification for everything, in every circumstance, even when we don’t deserve any.

When I read those words for the first time I was set alight; my own ongoing search for truth, not just spiritual but for all aspects of our existence, was rekindled instantly with an incredible might. I thought at the time: “that’s exactly the clarity of thought and purpose I want to have in my own life, in my own journey. This guy is on a quest, a worthy quest; he is onto something. He has great leadership qualities which are clearly manifested in the roles he likes to play and in the fact that he is often drawn to those roles. There is a heroic quality about him, a courage, a boldness. He knows where he is going and how to best get there. I’m in for the long haul, I thought.

Many people go about life totally clueless, surviving from one day to the next, purposeless, enjoying life’s pleasures and the good turns life throws at them, but not really preparing for the bad ones or even having an ounce of consciousness about the fact that whether we like it or not, we all carry a responsibility in how we live and of what we do with our time, our gifts and our resources. If not for anyone else, we owe it to ourselves to honour the life we’ve been given and to try to develop our potential to its maximum, try to do something meaningful with how little or how much we may have. I want my life to mean something, to leave something beautiful and good behind. I want the immediate world that I engaged with whilst alive to be a better place when I’m gone, because I was there and did something to better it. I don’t see much point in living otherwise, quite frankly.

Here is an actor whose journey does not appear to be dictated or ruled by what sells, what provides fame and fortune, what brings popularity and the magic formula to limitless open doors that lead to where one wants to go, whatever that may be. We all have to make a living, but in my opinion it has always transpired that for Richard Armitage his freedom when it comes to choosing a role is not coerced by the potential to become wealthy or by sacrificing, supressing what is in his heart, in his dreams in order to comply with the accepted trends and unending pressures within the Entertainment Industry.

During The Crucible he often spoke of being drawn powerfully to the role of John Proctor because it offered a first-hand experience of an “Ascend of the Soul”, of living, if only for an instant, what it’s like to have the courage and honesty to rise to the best one can be when everything and everyone is against us and puts us in a corner, where we either succumb to their wishes or we die battling for the truth.

Richard has said in the past that choosing a particular role stemmed from his passion for the written word, not any written word but a particular piece of literature, a beautiful piece of literature, one that when you are exposed to its power, it helps you fly to heights which you never knew existed; it allows you to feel lofty, honourable, wonderful emotions you never thought worthy or capable of feeling, it takes you to a dimension we rarely break into in our daily grind, whatever that may be for different people, but that beautifully written word, just as the two sides of a coin, also has the potential to take you to depths and crevasses you suspect exist but will always go out of your way to avoid, even if in your gut, you know life has a habit of throwing us one or two curve balls along the way, so you’d better face them at least in your mind, if nowhere else, so that you are somehow prepared for what may hit you as you journey on.

So summing up, here we have an actor who shows great resolve, composure and intelligence when choosing his roles and also shows that it is he who is in control of his career’s trajectory and not the industry which dictates where to next get the big bucks from or what to do in order to get that elusive role which is coveted by all the best known actors and for which many will do almost anything. Here we have a man who clearly sees acting as not only the ability to entertain others, but also as artistry and as such he always seems to carefully search for that next role which will challenge him that extra notch to what he previously did; an actor who does not shy away from new mammoth challenging roles where he has to abandon the land of the living, if only for a while, in order to get into character and truly get into its “skin”, to the point where it is no longer the actor we see in the character, but the character becomes an entity in its own right, it acquires life of its own, and the capacity to live in our minds and hearts indefinitely.

How far in that quest for challenging oneself however, how deep into those unknown crevasses of the human soul is anyone prepared to go to prove their worth and capabilities as an actor, before the line between what is fiction and what is reality becomes blurry or even non-existent? And more worryingly, what if some of those watching do not have the maturity, experience, support network, discernment and mental balance and strength to not let certain topics, visual images and scenes get so deep into their psyche that what was meant as entertainment slowly but surely develops into a time bomb of potential crime and violence? How far does one need to go to prove his worth to himself first and foremost and then the world before the “ascend or descend of the soul” is no longer the primary focus, purpose or message in that portrayal; where it is no longer the “what” that matters in a film or TV program but the “how”, where it becomes primarily about the entertainment and shock value and very little about the exploration, interpretation and study of a literary character or the human psyche, heart, soul and spirit, about the lessons we can draw and learn from from a particular film or play? After all, isn’t what we see on a stage and on the screen designed to take us to familiar but also unknown places, to makes us feel exhilarating and powerful emotions, to transport us from our reality into the world of our “what ifs”? Where do we draw the line between entertainment and feeding our extremely real and potentially very dangerous obsession with Evil and how Evil can take over a person’s heart, soul and spirit and turn them into monsters? Why explore with such audacity, perseverance and intensity a genre that homes in on EVIL, when all one has to do is turn on the News to get more than a handful of horror, barbarism and savagery?

To be concluded in Part 3

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THE SPIRIT OF JOHN PROCTOR HAS WOKEN UP A SLEEPING GIANT

The run of The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre in London finished a few days ago, and to my utter suprise and annoyance, I have not been able to function properly since then. I have been carrying deep within in the pit of my stomach a strong sense of bereavement, a sense of deep loss of something that brought back to life, something that unearthed a SLEEPING GIANT in the hearts and souls of so many people all around the world. I have been bewildered by the knowledge that some people have travelled from as far as places like Australia, the States and some Asian countries in order to witness what will turn out to be, in my opinion, a highly regarded and respected chapter in the history of Theatre and a catalyst for change in people’s attitudes toward Truth, Love  and Freedom. Indeed, there have been so many who bewitched by the sheer power which Drama possesses to mirror life, have been unable to be content with seeing the play once or twice, but as many as seven times. Crazy, one may think initially, but having experienced the play twice, I can only but relate to that uncontrollable urge and desperate attempt to not let go of something so beautiful, so transcendental which once delivered by the actors acquires a life of its own and moves high and far beyond the rows of seats in a theatre. A rare thing indeed in this world we live in dominated by speed, urgency and the shallowness and ephemerality everything we experience is tainted with.

The Crucible, as recently rendered at The Old Vic Theatre in London has released an unstoppable force spiritually, something which challenges the status quo and the complacency of a human race which right now sits pretty for the most part and in denial as the most abominable of evils, perils and injustices are happening all around us.  It is ironic that a play which is dominated by the subject of false accusations of witchcraft can carry with it such “supernatural” force for transformation, for good, for justice, truth and freedom, rare values indeed in today’s world and because of their rarity made all the more precious to audiences and onlookers across the world.

Granted that the character of John Proctor and his evolution throughout the play cannot exist without the other characters, just as human beings cannot grow and develop unless sharing life with others. Having said that, it is solely the gradual and “supernatural” ascend of John Proctor’s soul throughout this play that leaves behind a blazing trail of glorious notions such as: TRUTH, COURAGE, HONESTY, INTEGRITY, AUTHENTICITY, LOVE and COMPASSION. These are notions which have laid dormant for far too long in our world; notions which were long ago replaced by their evil counterfeits: GREED, DECEIT, PRIDE, FEAR, COWARDICE, HATE, MERCILESSNESS. As I said in my previous post, these are forces which have been contending in the world for thousands of years, but today, right now, the good guys are losing this mighty battle. “The Crucible” as I have experienced it and as I have seen, read and heard others experience it, is fast becoming the antidote to a poison fed to the world daily which has numbed our senses, blinded our eyes and switched off our brains rendering us ineffective to live lives worthy of living, to leave behind a legacy worthy of remembering, and an inheritance worthy of being shared with others. For is a life well lived one that leaves this world exactly as it found it and in so many cases much worse than it found it?

There is in all of us an innate, inherent and deeply rooted longing to live for something that transcends the triviality, the immediacy of our daily grind. For some, it is a religion, for others a worthy cause such as Equality, Freedom or Justice, a charitable enterprise, being the best at what you are gifted at. That deep longing that we are all born with slowly but surely gets numbed and put to sleep by the pressures and fears that daily living brings, and little by little as we age, the brave soldier within us that once carried so much promise, surrenders a small piece of that lofty enterprise we felt born to pursue, one sorry day at a time. The glorious quest we set off on in our youth is slowly but surely annihilated by the cynicism, and everyday demands which chain to the ground our bodies, our hearts but most of all the ability for our souls to ascend, as John Proctor’s soul ascends, in those moments, seasons of our life when we come face to face with a choice to stand up, be counted and fight for what is right, for what is truth, for what is just.

Our world is dying of hunger and thirst right now, a hunger and thirst for the John Proctors that have existed throughout history but who shine for their absence today; a thirst for individuals who led by humility, integrity and courage and the acknowledgement of their own fleetingness and mortality are able to spiritually transcend beyond the carnality of their existence and give their all, even their last breath in the quest for the truth, even if that truth means losing everything that is dearest to them. Hardly anyone seems to be prepared or willing to go that extra mile, to lead from the front, to lead by example, to jump off the precipice as eagles do in order to reach glorious and new heights, in order to conquer new enemies, in order to enjoy that elusive freedom we all think we have. But are we really free, free enough to overcome the fear of rejection and alienation from others if we consistently and to the end swim against the current of tyranny, pride, conformity, lukewarmness and deceit?

This is for me where “The Crucible” and particularly the depiction of John Proctor by Richard Armitage have shifted the tectonic plates of a world dominated by inactivity and the lack of a fire in its belly in the face of adversity and evil. I deeply believe that what this play has achieved in London goes far beyond what our eyes can see and our ears can hear. It is my utter conviction that something has shifted and been released into the four corners of the earth through the spirit of truth and love that this wonderful piece of literature carries.

I am in absolute awe and truly humbled by this rare breed of individuals like the play’s Director, Yael Farber, and the actor playing the lead role of John Proctor, Richard Armitage, who go far and beyond their artistic flare and vocation in order to use their gift not only for their own profit but because their life’s mission is also to use what they have, their gift, talent and resources to create a channel through which others can travel and see too that a life worth living can only be a life pursuing even to the death those things we know deep in our hearts to be true, to be right. Anything else is not living, but dying one day of conformity and indifference at a time, short-changing ourselves of the supreme quest that it is to pursue “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

This Sleeping Giant has most certainly been re-ignited in me through this play. I was there twice and I felt it; I felt its power and its weight. I saw that the people who left the theatre were transformed from the people they were when they first came in. It is for this reason that I sit here today with a heavy heart, praying that was has been released through this play is not diluted by the one other million things thrown at us, put in front of us each and every single minute of the day. When one witnesses truth, it is impossible to continue on our journey as before.  How can anyone witness through the character of John Proctor what living and dying for love and the truth truly is and at what cost, and then not have the unwavering determination to make our lives shine as they should, as they were always meant to?

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THE CRUCIBLE WITH RICHARD ARMITAGE AND HOW IT TOUCHED ME

THE CRUCIBLE AND HOW IT TOUCHED ME

Disclaimer: If you are here in the hope of reading a succinct, professionally, well written, well documented and informed review of The Crucible as currently performed at the Old Vic Theatre in London, you have come to the wrong place. This is the humble account given by a mere mortal of an experience which will stay with me forever for reasons that may not touch another person to the same degree or in the same manner.

On Saturday 26th of July I had the privilege of being able to see The Crucible at the Old Vic Theatre in London. My husband does not share my love for the English word or any of its manifestations and so I don’t go to the theatre as much as I would like. I am a 44 year old Spanish woman but have been living in England for 23 years. I studied English Philology at a Spanish University, a five year degree which covers subjects such as English history, literature, philosophy, linguistics amongst others, my favourite being: Literary Criticism. When I was at University, in my mind and in my heart I was heading to one day become a Literary Critic. That was my passion and I was very good at it. I always got the highest scores when I wrote my own review on a particular piece or book. I loved the power of words and how they convey different feelings and emotions to different people; how they can touch you in corners of your soul where nothing else can; how they can make the world go round and at times stop on its tracks. Life, however, often surprises us and veers us in a direction which we never suspected we might take or planned to take. I say life veers us, but in my own experience I now know it was not life but God closing some doors and opening new ones, protecting me from choices which may have made me happy for a time but in the long run would have driven me further away from knowing Him and from having a purposeful and meaningful life.

Going to the theatre and enjoying the entertainment industry in general can be an expensive affair, specially if you wish to get a decent seat where you can feel comfortable and actually be part of what is going on on stage, and so in order for me to make a visit to the theatre a regular ocurrence, I would have needed to sacrifice other parts of the family budget which seems like an indulgence to me in these days we live in. I tell you this so that you understand that this was for me a very special evening by the very nature of its rarity, and needless to say, by the prospect of seeing Richard Armitage act on a stage and of potentially meeting him afterwards.

Being the rare event that this was going to be and knowing it may not happen again for many months, perhaps years, I decided to make the most of the experience by actually getting up to speed with other people’s reviews, their take on the play, feedback and general impressions, which I find is a good way of getting the general gist of what to expect. Clearly, the best way will always be going to the source itself and so I also purchased “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller on my Kindle and read it over the course of a week prior to my visit to the Old Vic. American Literature was another of my favourite subjects at University, although this had more to do with gazing across the room at a very attractive teacher and not so much with the subject itself, but anyway, although we covered quite a lot, The Crucible by Arthur Miller was not amongst it.

Let me tell you first and foremost that I am a Christian or at least I try to be, I would like to be. It is a very tall order following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and unfortunately, I don’t even come remotely close to even his sandals, but He is my focus, my North, my rock and the compass I use in my daily life to guide me in everything I do, say and think. More often than I care to admit, I keep Him out of the equation, but when I look for Him afterwards, He is always there to pick up the pieces of my wrongdoing, my insecurities, my prideful and selfish actions; to pick me up so that I can try and make a better go of things the next time.

The reason I tell you all this is so that you understand that choosing to go and see a play that dwells in the “taboo” subjects of witchcraft, the power of the devil and the controlling power, firm grasp and devastating results that legalistic religion at the hands of proud, control-driven and weak individuals can have on a person or a collective, amongst many other subjects, was not an easy decision to make or one I was going to take light-heartedly. I knew I was going to experience very strong emotions in an enclosed, relatively small space, full of people, at a stone’s throwaway from the actors themselves and with nowhere to run mid-flow, should my heart begin to beat so fast that no one can hear or sense anything else but the fear and anxiety running through my veins. For an spectator who is an atheist, an agnostic or a Christian in word but not in deed, a lot of what goes on during this play would go straight over their heads, but for me personally, I knew beforehand certain things I might witness during the play would make me feel terrified, nervous and very, very uncomfortable. Indeed, seeing the plot unfold was no different at various points of the play than standing in front of a mirror at home and coming face to face once again with the unwelcome but familiar ghosts named disappointment, betrayal, fear, lust, temptation, pride, unforgiveness and a number of demons which I battle with in my own personal day to day existence.

For me and for all Christians, there are two very distinct dimensions which co-exist: the natural (what we see, hear, feel, touch, smell) and the spiritual (those things which we cannot see, but often sense may be taking place, the forces of good fighting the forces of evil in the world or simply put: God versus the devil). This is as real to me as life itself. I have met self-declared Christ followers and I have met self-declared ex devil worshippers and I tell you that at their worst either of them can become extreme and cause as much hurt, devastation and pain as each other. What I mean is that pride, fear and ignorance can be a terrible thing and whether you act driven by any of those three elements, be it in the name of God or of the Devil, the results can be equally devastating.

This is something which comes across very clearly in the play as enacted by the current cast at the Old Vic. A village torn apart by suspicion, lust, pride, deceit and the willingness to sell our soul to the highest bidder when we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. This awful darkness and sense of despair in a cruel and harsh environment such as it was at that time in Salem, Massachusetts, is beautifully contrasted by the light and tenderness, the redemptive thread that runs through and is brought about in the play so poignantly by the characters of John Proctor (Richard Armitage) and his wife, Elizabeth Proctor (Anna Madeley).

Both of them, but specially Richard Armitage, convey so vividly and humanely that moment in a person’s life most of us hope never comes when our integrity, our whole being, those whom we love, and care for, the God we worship, if any, and our very soul are at stake, that moment where the choice we make will bring either life or death, both in the natural and spiritual realm. Thousands of people around the world are being persecuted, tortured and murdered for their faith right now, and for them a moment like this which is so sensitively, intuitively, innately acted by Armitage and Madeley, is all too real. Indeed, for so many there is no choice to be made, because that choice has been taken away by those who play God to sustain and feed their greed, pride, fanatism, power, you name it.

This is a very timely play and a timeless one at that for the threads that underpin it are forces which the world has had to contend with for thousands of years, indeed the whole of humanity rests and has been built and developed upon the pillars of faith, good, evil, greed, world domination, control, lust, pride, integrity, freedom, love and so many other forces which are at war with each other and in a permanent battle to establish which one shall ultimately prevail.

As a Christian woman witnessing this play unfold, the final moments during the trial when Proctor has to make that choice as to whether to sell his soul in order to keep his life or to remain true to who He is, to those whom He loves and love Him and to God himself, is for me an all too believable, foreboding, almost prophetic moment in a society which is rapidly becoming secular and where the Christian Faith who was the Lion in the Human Kingdom is fast becoming the elephant in the room. There is a sense of acceleration around us made all too aware by how fast technology is developing, scientific and medical advances are progressing, and the sense of urgency and immediate gratification we all let our lives be ruled by. It won’t be long before as Christians in the United Kingdom we may have to be in John Proctor’s shoes and be wrongly accused of something we have not done, admit to something we are not by a society which is blinded by the power of evil, self-worship and a clear lack of a moral compass and integrity; we may have to make the impossible choice of saving our life by betraying our soul or confessing the truth and saving our integrity but signing our own death sentence in the process. For me, Richard Armitage, transmitted all these emotions in a spectacular fashion. He captivated the audience and not just by his manly, handsome presence but so much more so by the palpable dynamism in his performance of the co-existing traits in Proctor’s personality where love and hate, self-assurance and fear, aggression and sheer tenderness can co-exist in equal measure. This illustrates beautifully the peril the world is in today and has always been: good and evil in us constantly surfacing within us and battling each other, integrity versus conformism and resignation, honesty versus deception and betrayal, freedom versus bondage to others, our own passions or the devil himself.

Anna Madeley particularly captivated my heart on the night too. Not familiar at all with her previous work, I was deeply touched by her rendition of Elizabeth Proctor, a woman tormented by the suspicion of her husband’s betrayal and adultery and bound by the inability to completely forgive and cut the chains that hold him forever captive to guilt and a sense of failure, the chains that keep him walking on egg shells around her, extinguishing the flame of love one subtle but lethal blow at a time; a woman whose sheer loyalty, love and dedication has slapped her right back on the face and turned her heart into a heart of stone towards her husband, desperate to show him the love she still truly feels for him despite his betrayal, but selfishly holding on to the chains of guilt and conviction that bind him, in an attempt to protect herself from further hurt, destroying in the process the chance to rebuild complete trust between them and for unconditional love to resurface once again. Having personally experienced in my own life the betrayal and the lust for another within a relationship, I am all too familiar with how unforgiveness but also guilt can have a relentless grip on us to the point where we cannot function, where our freedom to be who we want to become is completely taken away and our every move, thought and word is nothing but the echo of the fear and the turmoil we are experiencing within. Again, from a Christian point of view, these are all incredibly relevant subjects which are dwelled into sensitively but very accurately in this rendition of The Crucible. I was truly moved by Anna Madeley’s performance. It was gentle, understated but at the same time confident and firm. Both Richard and Anna were in a league of their own and a Class Act!

Worth mentioning also is the role played by Jack Ellis who plays Deputy Governor Danforth. Great, powerful, utterly convincing performance as was that by Samantha Colley who plays Abigail Williams. Looking into Armitage’s eyes during his performance was almost an unbearable feat for me. His gaze and facial expressions so intense, his demeanour so full of underlying connotations of the raging battle going on under the surface of John Proctor’s imposing countenance but frail heart. But looking into Abigail Williams’ eyes was altogether a much more challenging experience for all the wrong reasons. She really put the fear of God into me by exemplifying so well how one can behave, the lengths a person can go to, how they can lose themselves when the devil and its minions get hold of your soul. Utterly bewitching performance and terrifying at the same time. Solid performance, unforgettable!

I could go on forever as it seems unfair to not mention the other actors and characters too for they were all so good as individuals and as an ensemble. I will just have to say that if any of what is written here has intrigued you in the least to go and see this play, then please follow that nudge and be truly entertained. I can assure you your mind will be stirred up and your soul in turmoil when you come out of that theatre, not to mention your heart will flatter and skip one or two beats if you have the sheer privilege of meeting Richard afterwards. He has one of those “beautiful” faces in the purest sense of the word, and eyes that can speak a thousand words and melt rocks with just one look. My kind of Lead man!

Richard and I

ON THE PRECIPICE OF ETERNITY?

I have often published on my site prophetic words given by Priscilla Van Sutphin. I used to be very sceptic about anyone claiming that they had “heard” from God and felt a burden to be HIS mouthpiece. Indeed, I still feel there are many charlatans out there, many deluded people, deceivers who fool no one but themselves.

However, I do believe with all my heart that this woman “hears” from God and though I have never met her or know anything about her at all, every time I read the messages she shares, I myself sense the presence of God around me in a tangible way. I feel comforted, encouraged and disciplined. I feel His Spirit right there next to me. The words hit me like the words of a best friend, and intimate relation who knows you inside out and can get to those places we all try so hard to keep out of sight from the world around us.

This particular word is an example of how the Spirit of God can make contact with us when we least expect it. It can get to those dark, hidden, secret, sheltered, delicate, sensitive corners of our heart that nobody else gets to see or know about. It can unearth our deepest longings, fears and our biggest regrets, our failures and the strongest desires of our heart which up to that point have laid dormant, numbed by a culture and an existence fast forwarded by commitments, responsibilities, worries, TIME.

Priscilla, if you ever happen to read this, please know that in the past when I have shared your messages here, often I shared them because I felt they would encourage someone else. Well, this time the message was for ME.

I sit here in floods of tears feeling like that person you speak of who feels they have been discounted, who no longer have a role in the Kingdom, is ME. I am the one who has personally been given this promise:

“but I promised I WOULD ARISE OVER YOU.  I promised I would be SEEN upon you.  [Isaiah 60] So do not fall to defeatism, and apathy, and the spirits of heaviness that are lurking in the shadows.”

I am the one who saw myself in a dream doing these very things, flying, being carried, sheltered under God’s wing:

“I’ve called you to soar on eagles’ wings Higher above their domain, to fly with ME in the heavenlies and to see things from MY perspective.”

I am the one who was personally told to:

“Keep focused on ME.  Keep focused on the WORD.  Do NOT get into bitterness and do not allow critical spirits in your heart.  Again I’m not telling you to stop being discerning, and I am not saying do not speak out, because I have called you to speak up against evil.  You are called to be an ARMY, not to be a pacifist apathetic sheepfold.  True justice is the heart of a prophet.  I put that sense of justice there for many of you who are prophetic.  I developed it in you through the sufferings you endured, that you would have MY HEART.  David was a man after My own heart I said.  I have many David’s who have been on the sidelines, participating, but who will now be drawn into direct battle, and into the spotlight to speak out the things I’ve given them to say.”

I am amongst those who have been given this promise over and over again in dreams:

“For I have promised a tsunami of My love for a long time now, and it is about to be poured out.”

I heard this promise too:

“Throw off all the discouragement and expecting of bad things to happen.  For I set a table before you in the midst of your enemies I said.  I AM Your Rear Guard!  I watch over My children like a good parent does.  I provide all that is needed for those who are called to My purpose.  So BELIEVE that I am FOR you and not against you.  Do NOT listen to the voice that makes you feel disqualified, or not good enough.  YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE BLOOD OF MY SON.”

I am that person:

“He seeks always to steal from you your confidence in My love for you.  But it cannot be taken away.  My heart is ALWAYS FOR YOU.  My love is EVERLASTING and ETERNAL.  It is unconditional.  I never stop loving you.  So rebuke him and his minions from your presence and stay your mind on ME and My promises.  Speak them out and sing them out against his ploys.  Dance and sing, and dwell in My presence that you could hear My voice speaking to you in the quiet times.  REST in My arms and you will find all the peace you need.  FOR I AM the PRINCE OF PEACE.  My shalom is encompassing you as you worship me.  Even when you can’t FEEL it, I am imparting grace to you.”

The words: “You are called to be a LIGHT in the DARKNESS” have been given to me time and time again:

“Have confidence that My plans for you are for GOOD and not for evil to give you a future and a hope, that you can be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD you have been called to be!”

Oh! I am the one crying as His words unravel the complexity and the burden in my heart that no human around me is even aware of. He sees in me what no one else can or will see; He alone knows the dreams and promises He has laid on my heart; He alone sees me in the night troubled by visions of Tsunamis and earthquakes that shake the foundations of the Earth; He alone sees the tears I cry when those chosen and called to share the Good News, misrepresent HIM in such an abysmal and hurtful manner, and THAT is how I know this word is coming DIRECTLY from  my Heavenly Father to me.

Thank you Priscilla for being that vessel, that channel which brings this healing balm onto my soul and reminds me that HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME, NOR FORSAKE ME.

http://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com/the-lord-says-were-on-the-precipice-of-eternity/

The Lord says We’re on the Precipice of Eternity!

“[So I went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps up the hillside, my beloved shepherd said to me] O my dove, [while you are here] in the seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock, in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.  [My heart was touched and I fervently sang to him my desire]  Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom”   Song of Solomon 2:14-15 AMP.

“You’re on the precipice of eternity, and many are not aware of how close My coming is.  They’ve been lured asleep by compromise, apathy and complacency.  But I am asking you now to be ready for extraordinary change that is coming.  Nothing will ever be the same.  Life as you know it cannot be Counted on.  The things you have taken for granted in the past, cannot be taken for granted any more.

My coming is urgently approaching and so many are sleeping in the church.  Deep darkness has filled many people as the darkness has covered the earth, but I promised I WOULD ARISE OVER YOU.  I promised I would be SEEN upon you.  [Isaiah 60] So do not fall to defeatism, and apathy, and the spirits of heaviness that are lurking in the shadows.  The vultures are ready to pounce if you let them, but I’ve called you to soar on eagles’ wings Higher above their domain, to fly with ME in the heavenlies and to see things from MY perspective.

Keep your oil lamps filled to the brim, for ordinary substances that people count on are not being supplied.  There is a plot to starve out many, and to lay many to rest through cruel and unusual means.  PRAY these things do not come.  I will uncover it all if people will repent and seek My face in this nation.  Change is about to turnover many things they think are established.  You are on the precipice of GREAT CHANGE.  Not the kind some were looking for in last few years, but that which WILL change people’s hearts and expose the hearts of others.

Keep focused on ME.  Keep focused on the WORD.  Do NOT get into bitterness and do not allow critical spirits in your heart.  Again I’m not telling you to stop being discerning, and I am not saying do not speak out, because I have called you to speak up against evil.  You are called to be an ARMY, not to be a pacifist apathetic sheepfold.  True justice is the heart of a prophet.  I put that sense of justice there for many of you who are prophetic.  I developed it in you through the sufferings you endured, that you would have MY HEART.  David was a man after My own heart I said.  I have many David’s who have been on the sidelines, participating, but who will now be drawn into direct battle, and into the spotlight to speak out the things I’ve given them to say.

I am NOT the God of the new age.  I am not the God of the world, though I should be.  But I AM the CREATOR Who made heaven and earth and sent My Son to die for them.  Many have heard and rejected Me.  Many have spurned My love through My servants.  But many have not seen the kind of love I am about to pour out.  For I have promised a tsunami of My love for a long time now, and it is about to be poured out.  Ready your hearts to be enraptured with Your King!  For I AM READY and I see the plans that you cannot see.

I see the plans of the wicked behind closed doors, and I know all things about them, and about you. Do not hide yourself from Me now.  Come to me with your burdens and I will give you rest for your soul.  I will heal the hearts who are corrupted by the enemy.  I will do miracles upon miracles.  Startling miracles will be seen, and people will be in shock, including you, that I do them now.  Others will arise trying to mimic them, but they will be shown to be the frauds that they are.  Ask and you will receive.  Believe that I am GOOD, and that I have your best interest always on My mind.

Throw off all the discouragement and expecting of bad things to happen.  For I set a table before you in the midst of your enemies I said.  I AM Your Rear Guard!  I watch over My children like a good parent does.  I provide all that is needed for those who are called to My purpose.  So BELIEVE that I am FOR you and not against you.  Do NOT listen to the voice that makes you feel disqualified, or not good enough.  YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE BLOOD OF MY SON.  Many continue making mistakes, sinning, but did I not know that when He died on the cross?  Did I not show you the parallels to Israel, and how they wandered for 40 years in the desert because they could not attain to the law, nor get all the unbelief and rejection and bitterness out of their hearts.  IT IS BY THE BLOOD that you have My righteousness, and I see you through that blood.  YOU are My precious possession, and I will make you My jewels.  So fret not, and do not take on the condemnation of the enemy.  Do not allow it in your heart.  He is a liar and the father of lies.

He seeks always to steal from you your confidence in My love for you.  But it cannot be taken away.  My heart is ALWAYS FOR YOU.  My love is EVERLASTING and ETERNAL.  It is unconditional.  I never stop loving you.  So rebuke him and his minions from your presence and stay your mind on ME and My promises.  Speak them out and sing them out against his ploys.  Dance and sing, and dwell in My presence that you could hear My voice speaking to you in the quiet times.  REST in My arms and you will find all the peace you need.  FOR I AM the PRINCE OF PEACE.  My shalom is encompassing you as you worship me.  Even when you can’t FEEL it, I am imparting grace to you.

Have confidence that My plans for you are for GOOD and not for evil to give you a future and a hope, that you can be the LIGHT OF THE WORLD you have been called to be!  I will remove the little foxes that spoil the vine as you worship ME and seek My face.  Don’t worry about the little foxes, just trust ME, that I will remove them as you seek Me.  That is why you find yourself crying in My presence, without knowing why.  I am healing your heart and plucking out all that the enemy has sown that is not from ME.  I love you My bride, and I am at the door, so lean on ME.  Lean on the everlasting arms for I am not weak as man is weak.  Trust me to bring you through anything that you have to go through.  For I am with you always, even to the end.”

San Francisco: a city on a hill cannot be hidden

Those of you who follow my blog may be wondering where I’ve been in these last few weeks.  I have just returned from a three-week trip to California, Nevada and Arizona.  It is now 5 o’clock in the morning and I am seriously jet-lagged.  It has been two days since our return and I still cannot sleep at night.

I often lay there waiting to fall asleep again.  I am not the kind of person who functions well without an 8 hour sleep every night, but today is different.  I feel my mind is ripe with reflections about my trip and what I saw.  Where do I start? For a long time now I have been intrigued by California.  Not only is my largest number of followers by far based in California, but I have for four years now had a blogosphere relationship with a wonderful Illinois born American who lives in California.  His name is Larry and he is a wonderful man of God who has been supporting and encouraging my family in prayer for all this time and giving us prophetic words and words of wisdom which have helped us greatly navigate the rough waters.  God put it in my heart years ago that one day I would meet Larry despite the great distance between the UK and California.  Well, we finally met two weeks ago in Laguna Beach, just south of LA, where we stayed during our first week. I remember a few years ago a lady who I esteemed dearly told me that blogosphere friends were false friends, intangible, of no consequence, a nice idea with no substance.  I felt hurt by this at the time as I knew the only reason why this blog started and why I have made so many Godly acquaintances through it is because God wanted it so.  Meeting up with Larry after four years of fellowship on the net is living proof that God has no limits as to why, when and how He brings his children together, and who are we to dismiss as God’s way the most used social tool in the world today? My friend, if you are reading, please know that the day we doubt God can use anyone and anything to achieve his purposes is the day we are setting up obstacles to where God wants to take US. His Ways are not our Ways no matter how much we try to mold Him into our image.  Meeting up with Larry and his wife Carol is a wonderful memory and testimony to God’s love that will stay with me forever.  There are also couple of other people I have been fellowshipping with through my blog and whom I hope to meet one day, so watch this space.  You know who you are.

Another reason why I have lately wanted to travel to California is the fact that I have been having some dreams about earthquakes there, specifically in San Francisco.  They have been vivid, clear and have left me literally shaking.

California is a wonderful land full of contrasts.  It has staggering natural beauty and breath-taking landscapes which remind us of our insignificance, but it also has another aspect to it which is arid, dry, barren, harsh, unwelcoming and unforgiving. It is a land full of oasis in the middle of one big, lonely, imposing, dreary, scary desert.

The dichotomy of its history and its current state pretty much sums up the stark contrast between its glorious potential, the purpose God has for such a unique land and the devastating reality of the failure to follow such call.  A statement that is true for so much of the Christian world today.

Dotted from the North to the South of California is the legacy of the Spanish colonization which began in the 16th Century and the missionaries who sought to convert the natives around the middle of the 18th century. Wherever you go you will find the name of a city or town after a Saint: San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, San Jose and so many, many more. The impact the Franciscan Fathers had over this land is evident even today, but sadly it is only in word and not in action.  The vestiges of what once were influential missions can only be found today in beautiful buildings which echo the fear of God that once was and is no longer.

Take for example San Francisco, a city which once must have been the jewel in the crown of these industrious Franciscan Monks. A beautiful city filled with awe, potential, with no boundaries and open to the whole world has today become one of the most liberal cities on the planet where sexual freedom and promiscuity is not only celebrated but which is carried literally as a banner of pride right across the city.  The hard work of the early pioneers has gone up in smoke and in its place lies a land which in certain of its pockets resembles more the Sodom and Gomorrah of old than the city on a hill which cannot be hidden.  Interestingly, San Francisco is a city on a hill but ironically it is hidden, or at least it was whilst we were there, by a mist which often does not disperse until the afternoon.  This mist gives is a true eerie air of doom and gloom, very much a sense that what goes on there remains hidden though as we know, not really.

CHRISTIANS NEED TO GET BACK TO BASICS: LEARNING TO BE LIGHT IN DARK PLACES.

Nick Vujicic’s latest video on his website Life without Limbs (http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/) has really just spoken to me and I am sure to anyone who watches it. I encourage you to do so.
As a person who has victims of suicide within my own family, I was deeply touched by the message in this video. I often ponder about what extreme of loneliness and despair must a human being experience to prefer death to life. It hits me right in the gut when I think about it, but what really turns my stomach is the possibility of having ignored God’s still small voice asking me to be that light in a dark place and having ignored that stir within my spirit. Doing nothing is a choice most of us make every single day, every single hour without giving it a second thought, and yet the consequences of our indifference are so massive and final.

This video also touched me on a personal level because my husband and I started the “Light in the Darkness” initiative three years ago to provide food parcels to the homeless and families in need in our area. To date we have donated via our local branch of the Salvation Army way over 700 food parcels to individuals and families who for the most part are in that dark place with no hope, no respite, and no future. Interestingly, when we first set up the initiative we called it “Help to Feed the Homeless”, but a good friend of mine pointed out to me years later that seeing as we no longer provided food parcels to the homeless but also to families in any kind of need, it was fitting to give the initiative a new name which would reflect and incorporate all those whom we have helped. Two minutes later I was praying whilst having a shower and I asked God to suggest to me a new name which would define this initiative as He saw it. Immediately, the words “light in the darkness” came to me and ever since that day I have been constantly coming across media, videos, testimonies, music and Christian messages which speak of being light in the darkness.

I believe in this hour God is calling us all to simply be that light in the darkness, to simplify our well-meant enterprises in His name and to get back to basics: to help those who cannot help themselves, to bring joy and hope to those who have none, to share our resources and blessings with those who have nothing, and to simply BE ambassadors of Jesus Christ to the world, as Nick suggests.

Please watch the video and as you do, ask the Holy Spirit to show you in which dark place you can shed the light of Jesus Christ you carry within. Remember, you may not get to see or hear about the effect your words, actions or even attitude may cause in another human being but simply trust that when you feel that nudge, you have been chosen to act on it for a very important reason.

As I write about the simplicity God is calling His people to in terms of how to be light and salt in the world today, I also want to share with you a prophetic message published today by a lady whose prophetic words I have been following now for a very long time, long enough to know she speaks God’s heart. I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

Crunch Time by Priscilla Van Sutphin (http://ft111.com/priscilla.htm)
Nov 18th 2011

Crunch Time

The interval of time immediately before a project is due, when it becomes apparent that the schedule has slipped and everyone is going to have to work like dogs to try to complete the project in time. Crunch time usually occurs during the period between the next-to-last scheduled milestone (prior to which everyone was able to delude themselves that the schedule had NOT slipped) and the final deadline for delivery. During crunch time, workers are in crunch mode. Prevalent in the software industry, but used elsewhere as well.

“We’ve got three weeks left to complete six weeks worth of work. Looks like we’ll be living on take-out for a while.”
Definition of CRUNCH TIME a critical moment or period (as near the end of a game) when decisive action is needed
Mark 4:16-20 NKJV

16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Mark 13:14-20 NKJV

The Great Tribulation

(Matt 24:15-28; Luke 21:20-24)

14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’* spoken of by Daniel the prophet,* standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.

The voice of the Lord…

“Where are you going oh sons of men ? Where are you going ? What are you pursuing, that keeps you away from your Lover ? I ask you, am I not enough for you ? At times I feel like a scorned lover, who is longing for her husband but he is too busy with business as usual, to notice that she has changed her clothing, and prepared a special meal, just so they could eat it together.

In the midst of turmoil there will not be the time to make important decisions with calmness unless you get your instructions from ME ahead of time. I tell you that time with ME is never wasted. I am the Living Word and knowing the Word is good. It is My love letter to you. But I want you to know me. It is not good enough to know your wife oh husband, or for you oh wife to know your husband by only what is history written down. It is important for intimacy if you KNOW him or her; to know their heart, their thinking, their hopes and aspirations, their preferences, what they like for dinner, what they smell like after a shower. You may laugh, but a wife doesn’t only want a husband to just service her sexually, and go off and busy himself the rest of the time. That would only build resentment.

Thus I say to you, COME AWAY MY BELOVEDS and seek My face for what you are to do in this hour, for tumult is at the door, disruptions and disasters are waiting to manifest. Evil intent in the heart of the wicked is being realized as you sleep. Arise and shine for your time has come and it’s crunch time for knowing My heart and what I intend for you. I am preparing you, readying you for your destiny. Destiny is opening it’s doors right now, and there are jobs, opportunities being presented in this hour for full time and part time positions. Some of you will have dual roles, one foot in business and one foot in spreading the Kingdom. Many of you will be conscripted into service through disasters and troubles. Violence is growing so diligence must also grow in your hearts towards time with ME. Take communion with ME, all the more as you see the time approaching it says, so

Come away, and seek Me with all your heart, like when you first grew to love Me.

Take time to strengthen your inner man, and to rest and listen to My heartbeat, as John did, laying his head upon My chest. John was just a teenager when I knew him here on earth, he was like a son to me, and he never stopped leaning his head on my chest to get direction for which way to go. I want you DEPENDENT on Me, not independent of Me.

Many still are going their OWN way, instead of My way. I have opened doors for some, so that you can be aligned with others who will work together with you in conjunction. The church MUST CHANGE it’s direction. It is headed towards a spiritual Armageddon without preparing the flocks for what is to come. You must pray their eyes be opened, and hearts changed to accept MY instruction for how to do this end times plan. The face of the church is changing, and the church must also change it’s ways of doing church.

Persecution is already planned, yet people are going on blithely without understanding the times they are in. Awakening is at the door. The people in the streets are going to see mighty wonders, but the opposition is also strong and will come in like a flood trying to drown what I loose. You must be prepared to be more fluid, and flexible in how you do church. Buildings are safe only for a short time more. But when awakening comes full force, it will only be a short while before the enemy raises his army to crush it through persecution and mayhem.

Arise and shine for your LIGHT has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. Men will come to your light, and Kings to the brightness of your shining. YOU WILL MANIFEST MY GLORY like no other generation before you. Don’t you understand what I have been preparing you for ? All the tests and trials have been to soften your hearts that you could love even those who will persecute you, who will think they are doing Me a favor.

The religious spirits are even now trying to allure my bride and suck her into their web of deception, but I have made you strong and discerning that you would recognize a snake from a fawn. Come away beloveds, and listen to MY voice. Quiet your hearts and minds from all the daily violence and corruptions on the news, and find your peace in time with ME. Let me soothe your hearts and minds, and strengthen you on the inside, that you can go forth as my warhorses in battle array. “

Zechariah 10
Restoration of Judah and Israel
10 Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain.*

The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain,

Grass in the field for everyone.

2 For the idols* speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; They are in trouble because there is no shepherd.

3 “My anger is kindled against the shepherds, And I will punish the goatherds. For the Lord of hosts will visit His flock, The house of Judah, And will make them as His royal horse in the battle.

4 From him comes the cornerstone, From him the tent peg, From him the battle bow, I will bring them back, Because I have mercy on them.

They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; For I am the Lord their God, And I will hear them.

7 Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, And their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad;

Their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.

8 I will whistle for them and gather them, For I will redeem them;

And they shall increase as they once increased.

9 “I will sow them among the peoples, And they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall live, together with their children, And they shall return.

10 I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt, And gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon,

Until no more room is found for them.

11 He shall pass through the sea with affliction, And strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River* shall dry up. Then the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, And the scepter of Egypt shall depart.

12 “So I will strengthen them in the Lord, And they shall walk up and down in His name,” Says the Lord.

1000 Churches and 4000 Homeless. Sound familiar?

Jesus said that the poor would always be with us.  He did not say however that just because they will always be around, we were to neglect them and their needs and put religion above love.  And yet that is exactly what the Western Church is doing. The piece below is written by a pastor who lives in Nashville, Tennessee.  It was sent to me by a website I have subscribed to and as I read it, I immediately felt the stirring of the Holy Spirit to echo in this space the travesty that this person is trying to put an end to by getting off the fence and by calling and recognising things for what they truly are.  Though he speaks of the situation in Nashville, Tennessee, I a pretty certain this is a reality which is also common in many other North American cities and States as it is in many European countries.  Indeed, I have witnessed this in the UK where I live.

My spirit totally resonates with what this person is saying.  It has done so for years but even today, despite the thousands of prophetic voices and secular voices who are shouting out: STOP PUSHING RELIGION OVER JESUS!, the Western church is blindly marching on to a beat that has nothing to do with the heart of Jesus Christ, and the watchmen and women who have been called to blow the trumpet are cast out to the sidelines as man’s pride determines that the kingdom of God no longer needs them on their ranks.

Expenses incurred by flashier technology, communications and stage setting, substantial salaries paid to people who are to shine like a lighthouse for those lost but who instead use that power, potential, gifting and resources to promote themselves and their campaigns, to gradually climb up the ladder of la creme de la creme of church hierarchy (and please note I am not talking here about the Catholic Church hierarchy, but a much more ferocious, deceiving monster disguised as an angel of light which operates by pulling the strings of the prideful puppets who are driving the Western Church today).

Most Christians I know are in love with the idea of being the Church of Jesus Christ to the world rather than being in love with Christ himself and His Church.  The problem is that what many Christians understand as what it means to be The Church falls way too short from what Christ intended it to be, and though many leaders know this deep down, they would rather live through the next best thing than push for authenticity and the foundational principles and core elements of the Christian faith.  Christian leadership is in my opinion for the most part gutless today.  There is a deeply rooted fear of alienating their following by getting down to the nitty-gritty of what it truly means to be a Christian.  Instead churches have become auditoriums, fountains of theoretical knowledge with little if any hands-on acts of grace, mercy, compassion and selflessness.   Show me a church that is intent in casting out a new vision for a concise, clear and to the point mandate that was given thousands of years ago by Jesus Christ, and what you truly have is a group of people who strive to define new ways and come up with new formulas to continue doing the same old, same old about Christ’s command to look after the orphans, the widows, the poor, the lost, those in prison, the broken-hearted, those tormented by demons, those in despair.  Oh no!  It is much easier to keep talking about it and to keep learning different ways to tackle all these ministries without actually doing any of it, or doing simply enough to be able to pat ourselves on the back, but not really giving our all to any of it as a church.   Just enough to make the church’s “resume” look like it is that of a church, but only just.

There are two of my posts which are by far the most read daily on my blog.  To me this is illustrative of what is going on in people’s minds today. These are:

“Why did I stop going to church? Because I was looking for Jesus and I could not find him there” (https://anewcreation33.wordpress.com/2011/04/05/you-are-always-on-their-lips-but-far-from-their-hearts/) and

“You are the only Bible most people will ever read” (https://anewcreation33.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/you-are-the-only-bible-most-people-will-ever-read-ouch-2/).

The world is hanging from a very delicate balance at the moment and men and women all over the world are beginning to truly see their own vulnerability and God’s supremacy above all that there is and ever was.  And as they do, the acts of The Church are scrutinized and closely followed and questioned.  The Spirit of Christ lives on but it is certainly not to be found amongst folk who are happy to part with their money, time and resources so that Sunday worship is more contemporary, slick and so that better venues can be hired, state of the ark equipment can be bought and the latest leadership trends can be taught in top-notch premises by the most charismatic, trendy and entertaining of speakers.

The name of Jesus is far too Holy and precious to be used as the banner that condones, promotes and fattens up the calf we call Church today.  As in Moses’ time many are once again ceasing the worship of such idol and instead turning their ears to the voice of their Shepherd Jesus Christ as He leads them to further the kingdom in fresh and unique ways away from a religious system which seeks to control, manoeuver and own what is freely given and should be freely shared and ultimately belongs to God alone.  Those who are intent on worshipping a golden calf which relies on its own discernment, wealth, power and authority will miss the spirit of Christ which lives on away from man-made enterprises that behave, operate and do without the spirit of God just as the rest of the world we fail to lead by example does.

Many will reject this message as coming from a person who in their eyes is intent on tearing down The Church as we know it, but in my heart I know that before I knew Christ and God’s word I did not have this message burning deep in my heart and now I cannot but shout it out to the four corners of the earth.  I will never tire from doing so and will only stop when that flame that burns within me is extinguished.   Many will say that it is more Christ-like to love than to criticize and judge, but what person who claims to love would let another continue living in error and deception? What kind of love for Christ is it that turns a blind eye to the shambles that today’s Western church really is?  Does God not tell us that wounds from a friend can be trusted? I may note be your friend but our faith in Christ sure makes us spiritual brothers and sisters, and God knows the bond birthed out of being part of the same family goes way deeper than any friendship. It is my absolute conviction that when it comes to Christianity and the role of The Church in the world at this hour, tearing down is exactly what is needed in order to allow good fruit the chance to flourish and abound.  There is nothing else for it.  We keep re-inventing the wheel, but the truth is it was never man’s job, responsibility or even calling to dictate how to follow the Holy Spirit, how to be a follower of Jesus Christ or how to even be the church.  One discovers how to do all these things by simply seeking and abiding in Christ himself.  It is all in the book and the truth is we have drifted so far from the simplicity of Christ’s heart that we can no longer discern where Christ ends and man begins.

I used to regularly read the blog of a Nashville Pastor, a very charismatic and likeable individual, a good man no doubt.  One day he shared in his blog that him and hundreds of other pastors in the States would meet for a spiritual retreat/conference on board of a cruise ship.  I left a comment on his site to challenge the audacity and blindness of hundreds of Christians leaders who had turned a blind day to the fact that they openly and publicly declared and identified themselves daily as having been given authority from above and as leaders of the Christian faith, and yet were clueless and blind enough to think that Jesus would approve of resources and blessings destined for spreading the Kingdom of God to be lavished upon the very ones called to lead by example in humility, meekness and sacrificial lives.  I was astounded at the level of deception that has gone into the deepest layers of the Western Church.  This pastor replied to my comment half agreeing that yes God’s blessings should be used wisely and in the same sentence defending that pastors have a very tough time of it and deserve to be refreshed and nourished spiritually as they need to be in fellowship with other pastors and be pastored themselves.  To the idea that pastors need to go on retreats and be nourished and refreshed, I have to say, don’t we all? We all have extremely busy lives full of responsibility, concern and things to do and places to be at.   As a mother, a wife and a person holding a job, and specially as a Christian sometimes I feel suffocated, desperately trying to come to the surface for a gasp of air to help me breath.  I spend most of my time looking after the needs of another, and I have to be honest, there are times when that kind of sacrificial giving just proves too much and I want to throw the towel in and be refreshed and nourished myself, but something deep inside as I am down on my knees ready to give up always gives me that wake up call that if I am to truly follow Christ, I am here for others and not myself and that the only refreshing and nourishment I  need is that of my spirit and that MUST come from Christ himself and no one or nothing else.

If the millions of secular Christians who have full-time jobs, families, and ministries manage to find time to nourish and refresh their spiritual life, then why can’t those remunerated Christian leaders do the same without rewarding themselves as the world would do for what is meant to be sacrificial?  How are they then different from the world? I do agree that pastors need to be pastored themselves, but that links us to the same principle that they need to go to the source and not hang out with others who are in as much desperate need to have their hunger and thirst quenched by the spirit of Christ as they themselves are.  The Spirit breaths more of the Spirit, the flesh will simply feed the flesh.

This pastor also told me that I should not knock down all these different conferences and retreats as a negative in the Christian world and put them all in the same basket, because he himself gave his life to Christ during one of this conferences.  God in his grace and mercy will give us ample opportunities to seek Him and to find Him, and yes He will use any place, time and circumstance to reach out to us and draw us to Himself, but what percentage of people attending these conferences and retreats do you think have not given their life to Christ already?  I can assure you, having attended a few of these things myself years ago, the majority have been a Christian for years already and are there for self-gratification and for fellowship which in many instances does not mean to pray and to lead sacrificial lives together, but simply to hang out with people who are of the same mind and will never challenge them or rub them up the wrong way, in other words with those who will tickle their ears.

There is a need for Christian teachers and shepherds to be out there teaching and shepherding, of course there is, but it is the thousands outside the church walls who have not heard it all before who are perishing in front of our very eyes not having known salvation, redemption and forgiveness, and not the millions who mechanically and lawfully march to the churches on a Sunday and walk out pretty much in the same way they went in: unchallenged, uninspired, and above all not having encountered God.  How could they? Jesus was never found amongst those who had it all, those who had need for nothing, those who were confident in their own ability and strength, or those who thought they knew it all already and had the magic formula to spirituality and to how to get into God’s good book so that in turn many blessings and prosperity would follow. My, my how far the mighty have fallen.

Below is that piece from the Nashville Pastor, whom by the way is not the same guy with whom I had a few exchanges in his blog.

1000 CHURCHES and 4000 HOMELESS??

-by ‘Beres’.

I live in Nashville where more Bibles are printed than
anywhere else in the world. We have more Christian publishing houses in
Nashville than anywhere else on the face of the earth – more churches per
square mile – and, outside the Vatican, a greater percentage of bodies in
buildings on Sunday morning than anywhere else on earth. So we in Nashville
have a better chance to get it right, wouldn’t you say??

We have 1000 churches and 4000 homeless people living and
dying under bridges and in culverts. I know because I have prayed with them and
lain with them as they died, and every week I feed and pastor them. We can’t
even get it right enough for every church to reach out to 4 homeless people.
And yes, that includes children as young as they get.

Nashville is the headquarters for a swag of church
denominations, and para church organizations like the Gideons, and from this
buckle on the Bible belt of the richest nation on earth, missions go out all
round the globe. Those missions are funded with .01 percent of all monies
collected in North American churches.

That’s right! For every $1000 collected by North American
churches, ONE Dollar is sent to evangelize those who have never heard the name
“Jesus” – but from the latest stats, are probably well aware of the name “Coca
Cola”.

And frankly, whereas I once despaired of these manifest
failures of the church, now I say, Bring it on! Let the world see forever the
rich failures of putting religion before Jesus, ritual before relationship,
rules before lives and liturgy before love.

When the world at large finally see that the emperor has
no clothes, so also will the light of the real gospel of grace and peace shine
the brighter. For where sin abounded, grace did much more abound!

Let it get darker, our Jesus will shine brighter.